Heavy Metal Rocker Peter Baltes
Published April 14, 1985
The West German band Accept has just released its seventh LP, Metal Heart. Bass player Peter Baltes called me Monday in hopes of promoting both the album and their Midwestern concert swing. Mid-tour weariness showed in his voice and in the delay of several seconds before answering my first question.
Hi. Where are you calling from?
Um . . .We are in . . . Toronto. It is snowing over here.
You're on a pretty heavy concert schedule. What's a typical day for you now?
A typical day? Wake up. Do an interview for a newspaper. Do a show, A lot of travel. The average has been 500 miles, most of the time by bus. Our next stop is Dayton, Ohio. I think.
Do you do a lot of your songwriting on the road?
Yeah, we have to. We've got little tape recorders and a four-track machine and guitars. We try to write in hotels when we have a day off. You need a little bit of a relaxed atmosphere.
That must not be easy. By that I mean, how do you write such a loud, powerful kind of music in quiet hotel rooms?
Yeah, well, we do have these little amplifiers. We don't care. We just churn it out. In the beginning, though, when you compose the song, the lyrics, you don't need the volume yet.
Do you write straight into English, scribble it in German, or what?
Straight into English. All of our albums have been in English. It is just very difficult to become an international act in the German language. We'd only be able to reach Germany, Austria, Switzerland, that's all.
So, you're known as "Accept," even in your own hometown. Did you learn English in Gimnasium [high school] then?
Yes. There's a choice between English and French.
When you were younger, what were your musical influences?
I was into Deep Purple and Sweet -- even though that was the Gary Glitter time. I had a local band that did Top 40 things. But Accept was the only band around that did their own stuff. It was unusual at that time. Most everybody was copying Kiss and T. Rex and that sort of s---. So I joined Accept because they had all their own material, and I learned to start writing my own songs.
You're playing in Madison next Friday at the Great Dane. The last time through Wisconsin, you were at a nightclub called Headliners. What's the difference for you or for any heavy metal musician when it comes to small versus large venues?
For us the stage is the same. It's happier for the band to play in front of maybe 10,000 people instead of 500 people. But sometimes it's really good to play the clubs. You're very close to the people and it's easier to communicate. On big stages were have this security barrier in front. We love to touch the people a little bit. There's some kind of vibration that comes over. At the big places, it's a more "optical" music, bigger lights and that.
All your album covers say thanks to someone called Deaffy. Who's that?
Oh, he's a special friend of ours. He helps us out with the lyrics -- for the right word or the right way to say something. He's a guy from Germany, a very nice guy. But you don't want to mention him! It's a little secret.
Does he travel with you?
How long are you on the road yet?
Ooh . . . this time, very long, until December. We have to go to Japan.
Did you every play Japan before?
No, never. But the response in that part of the world to [the single release of] "Metal Heart" was amazing.
Well, good. Auf wiedersehen. Have fun.
Since 1985, Peter Baltes and Accept have made seven more albums, with another in production for 2014. Blood of the Nations, released in 2012, has been their biggest seller. Among their European concerts in December 2013, they played two dates in Ukraine. Baltes also runs a house painting business in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.